Last year, I had the pleasure of photographing Honest Pint Theater Company's production of Hamlet. This year (2017) they teamed up with Sweet Tea Shakespeare to put on King Lear, and were kind enough to ask me back. Working with people or groups multiple times allows for a familiarity and spirit of collaboration that I think makes for better, freer work - so I was delighted to sit in on a dress rehearsal.
Fight call! This is when all of the fights are run through at full speed, and little adjustments are made afterwards. The choreography was so good, and the actors had it down so well that I thought the brawls were going to careen into our seats when I brought my father to see the show a couple weeks after this.
Laura - actress and mistress of the wardrobe - getting a few last things in order before the rehearsal officially begins.
Starting off the show the way Shakespeare's audience would recognize - with food and music.
In which the, "For your inheritance, each of you flatter me," conversation goes south, and it turns out honesty is not always the most practical policy. Two of Lear's daughters go all-out with flourishing compliments, and Cordelia (despite being the only sister who truly loves the king) refuses to grovel. As a result, she is turned out of the kingdom.
Cordelia: I love your Majesty
According to my bond; nor more nor less...
Meanwhile Edmund, the Duke of Gloucester's illegitimate son, schemes against his father and step brother Edgar. Edmund is one of those gleeful villains - so fun to watch and root against (David Henderson - my friend and creative director for Honest Pint - did such a good job of bringing this character to life, with all his wicked delight).
Back with Lear, the retired king has taken to feasting with rather bad company. The Duke of Kent arrives in disguise to check in on him.
The king's fool, helping the king reflect on some of his behavior.
Edmund, creating drama and blaming it on his brother Edgar.
The Duke of Kent finds himself in the stocks.
Goneril and Regan preparing to kick Lear out into the worst, coldest rainstorm of their lifetime (I would like to note here that although these ladies did an excellent job of acting like snakes, in real life they are some of the warmest people you will ever meet).
A word about the magic of live theater: it's still amazing to me how settings and emotions can be created out of thin air. The rainstorm was created by a watering can, an instrument called a rainstick + some drums, and lighting affects - but when it all comes together, and the actors involved really believe in it, everyone chooses to suspend disbelief. And so a theater comes alive.
Director Jeremy Fiebig, working away on notes at his station on the front row.
Being an ally to the former king has some unpleasant consequences.
Edgar has taken on the disguise of Old Tom, and will end up leading his now blind father, rescuing him from self-destructive impulses.
King Lear reappears, very separate from the majesty and control he displayed at the beginning of the play.
Cordelia returns from France, to be reunited with her father.
Edgar enters in disguise, and brings Edmund to a sort of justice.
Cordelia seemingly meets her end at the order of her sisters.
Lear ends like many of the great tragedies, with precious few still alive to tell the tale.
That's all for now, folks! A huge thanks to the Honest Pint/Sweet Tea Shakespeare family for bringing me in yet again.